ESA Voyage 2050 White Paper: Detecting life outside our solar system with a large high-contrast-imaging mission
In this white paper, we recommend the European Space Agency plays a proactive role in developing a global collaborative effort to construct a large high-contrast imaging space telescope, e.g. as currently under study by NASA. Such a mission will be needed to characterize a sizable sample of temperate Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of nearby Sun-like stars and to search for extraterrestrial biological activity. We provide an overview of relevant European expertise, and advocate ESA to start a technology development program towards detecting life outside the Solar system.